Chicago Outlaws Crib Bumper Pads, Citing Safety Concerns

This week the Chicago City Council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of crib bumper pads after learning they may have played a role in the deaths of a least a dozen babies, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Many families think of bumper pads as an essential way to keep babies cozy in the crib,  but “babies can lack the motor skills and strength to turn their heads if they roll against something that blocks their breathing,” The Tribune said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission already recommends that parents keep anything soft—such as pillows, quilts, and “pillow-like bumper pads,”—out of a baby’s bed to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But Nancy Maruyama, of SIDS of Illinois, pointed out that parents see bumper pads in stores, and think “if (stores) sell it, it must be safe,” she told the Tribune.

The state of Maryland is considering a similar ban, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is studying the safety of bumper pads.

Chicago Aldermen were motivated by stories in The Chicago Tribune in March. The paper reported that federal regulators investigated at least a dozen cases where crib bumpers appeared to play a role in a baby’s death, but investigators ultimately said it wasn’t clear the pads were to blame. So reporters took a closer look at records about the deaths. From the Tribune:

[I]n reviewing the agency’s own records, the Tribune found that in many of those cases, babies who died had their faces pressed into bumper pads.

The Tribune also found at least 17 additional cases in which the safety agency did not investigate a child’s death even though the agency had reports on file suggesting bumper pads played roles in the fatalities.

The Chicago bumper pad ban will take effect in about seven months.

(image via: http://kidsindanger.blogspot.com)

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  1. by Janice

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I think many parents are aware of the risk of padded bumpers but they come with EVERY crib bedding set. Its so annoying to pay 100+ dollars for 4pc bedding sets in which 1/2 (bumper & quilt)is unusable. I wish baby bedding manuf. would revise this. With my daughter I used the bumper in the crib as deco until she actually started rolling, then I switched it for a breathable bumper.

  2. by momma

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:30 am

    i agree. i took the bumper out when she started to move around. she is 12.5 months and i still dont’t put a blanket in the crib. i hung the quilt on the wall that came in the set.

  3. by Aleta

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Never used the bumper that came with my Son’s bed set….it is a waste of money & material to sell something we can not use!!

    My Son is 17 months now and I debate on putting his bumper in because he keeps rolling in to the crib and bumping his head, which wakes him and me both up! but I still worry that he will get caught in it!

  4. by GAdams

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

    What’s next? Cars? I really wish the government would STOP telling me what I can and cannot put in my home. Yes, there is a risk for infants who do not have the motor skills to push themselves away from the bumpers. So don’t put them in their beds. However, there are kids for whom these bumpers are a comfort. My son, once he started to wriggle around in bed (and who COULD push himself away) use to squirm himself into a corner, head jammed up against the sides. If I didn’t have a bumper there, he’d have ridges on his head from pressing agains the slats. Put a warning on them, something about age or motor skills. But please don’t ban them outright. Why continue to force regulation on people when they should be using common sense in the first place???

  5. by Brittney

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

    My daughter (3 months old today) is just starting to take naps in her crib but I’ve removed the bumper pads already. I woke up one night about a month and a half ago and her face was pressed into the side of her bassinet. Her mouth was still clear of the side of the bassinet but it only would have taken her raising her head a bit for it all to be covered. The next morning I was in her room removing her very beautiful bumper pads. She’s a wiggler, she can wiggle her way to the side of the crib and I’m not taking any chances.

    I do agree with Janice though. I paid $150 for her bed set which was 4 pieces and now I can’t even use the bumper pads. I do use her quilt though. We do tummy time or diaper changes on it because it’s so fluffy and soft.

    I think they should definitely get rid of the pillowy bumper pads. Take them out of the sets as well. And then add something else useful and not dangerous.

  6. by Jillian

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I use the Bumper now with my 8 month old cause she is very advanced and stands in her crib. I had to use the bumper cause she was sliding her legs through the bars trying to get out and her leg got stuck and she started screaming. I put her bumper in there and now we don’t have a problem with her legs getting stuck. For new babies i wouldn’t use it but when they get older i think its ok.

  7. by indiana mom

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:45 am

    my baby is 10months today and i still use the bumper pads and theres never been a problem. iv also used blankets in his crib since the day he was born. i wud lay him down on the blanket that came w/the bedding set and cover him up w/a light blanket. they’re always coming up w/something that they think it is but are they 100% sure of the cause???

  8. by Jessica

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I have bumper bads on my son’s crib because he was getting his feet caught in the rails as he was moving around in his sleep. He is 7 months old now and I don’t have a problem with him pressing his face into the bumpers.

  9. by Wisconsin Mom

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I wish the government would stop legislating stupid.

    You don’t use the bumpers when they are little, you use them when they are bigger & mobile & strong enough to keep their faces free because that is when they start hitting their heads against the rails over and over again.

    Maybe instead of banning everything we could try some education.

  10. by Cherishbickel

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I have never used a bumper with any of my 3 kids and never had a baby get hurt from not using one. My 17 month old does roll against the side of the crib but it doesn’t bother her. And if she wakes up with an imprint of the slat on her face it goes away fast. The bumpers don’t help, a baby can still get their leg caught in the slats especially after 6 months once they start standing. Also babies can use them to climb out. Why not ban them, for parents who do know the risks they are trash and for others who don’t know or don’t care they are risks.

  11. by smartma

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:10 am

    My son has chunky legs and gets them wedged in the rails all the time. So when he started to roll over, we put the bumper in. He is old enough to move his head. We dont want him to break his legs in the slats. He was banging them around really hard to get out. Once they are a year old, the comforter is fine. They know how to pull it up and down. (most children)

  12. by Katie

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I used breatable bumbers for my kids-my son would always get his feet caught in the slats of the crib so I found these for him and my daughter after. Thay are mesh so they are safer and much wider then regular cloth bumpers. More moms should get these then risk your childs life with the cloth kind.

  13. by Heather

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I have used bumper pads with my now 5 & 3 year old sons and still have them in my 11 month old’s crib. We kept our babies in a pack n’ play in our room until they were 4-5 months old for SIDS prevention. By that age they were strong enough to push away if needed and while sleeping on the backs in sleep sacks we never felt any danger. I support any safety tips, but think the ban of bumper pads to be a little extreme. My babies loved the cozy feeling they create and were distracted by looking through the crib slats when we tried removing them.

  14. by Marie

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Why are people wasting their money buying a crib set in the first place? Babies don’t need all the frilliness of bumbers, crib skirts, quilts, and such. A plain old set of crib sheets do just fine! Save those sets of matching bedding for when they transition out of the crib and into a regular bed when they can actually use everything that comes in the packaging for the bigger price tag!

    The safety concern with crib bumpers has always been there. And the manufacturers of the crib bedding will continue to put bumpers in the packaging because they know that people will still buy them and then choose to either use or not use them. But they aren’t going to lose that profit margin when so many still do it!

    However, I do agree that at some point the government needs to stop dictating our lives and let people live with the consequences of their choices. It is so sad when a baby dies of SIDS, but when it is found that the baby died because of the use of a crib bumper and that family choose to leave the crib bumper in place then that is something they need to accept and live with instead of blaming someone/something else.

    Heaven forbid we have to live with the choices we make for ourselves and our children. What ever will we do?

  15. by brandy

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    i tied mine on the outside to keep my babies legs from getting stuck if they would make them big enough to go all the way around it would be great mine was a little short but i tied it off in the back and you cant see it and his bed still has his cute little fire trucks to see and show off

  16. by Kathleen

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    My parents had eight children. They had 21 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. Bumper pads have been around for a long time. The “old” ones were made with a heavy plastic or vinyl. But for the fifty or sixty years or however long they’ve been around, I’ve never heard of it being a threat. Granted, one death of a baby is too many, but you cannot outlaw something like that in your home. It’s up to the parents to know when to remove the pads. I removed my children’s pads when they did learn to stand on them.

  17. by Zoney

    On September 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I didn’t use bumpers in my son’s crib because I was so scared that something would happen to him but then he started to lose his paci and get his legs and arms caught so I now use the breathable bumper. Their mesh so kids can breath through them if they get their face up to it, carbon monoxide can move through it, and it is thin so toddlers can’t use them as a step to get out of the crib.

  18. by Alexandra

    On September 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    They banned them BECAUSE CHILDREN WERE DYING. If it’s a choice between cute, getting a temporary leg stuck and babies dying I know which one I would choose.
    We hate it when the Gov’t legislates to keep us safe. I like my water safe, my food uncontaminated, and those who can’t protect themselves to be safe. It’s very easy to say that it doesn’t effect us, until it does. And then it’s: why didn’t someone tell me?
    Think it’s great that those of you who ignore the guidelines “know better”. I am sure that is comforting to the parents of the dead children. I hope that you never have to eat your words, because that would be a real tragedy.

  19. by LRH

    On September 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    How about–it’s MY child and MY house and MY crab and I will do whatever I damn well please. The government can kiss it below the waist-line if they don’t like it. This isn’t Cuba or China–is it?

    LRH

  20. by Corrie

    On September 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    They have their purpose. They should NEVER be in the crib with a newborn. I don’t care how cute they are. My daughter from day one could wriggle herself up against stuff but wouldn’t have been able to move away once there. That is the danger in it. But once old enough to fully move around they definately serve a purpose. Nothing like practicing crawling skills in the crib. When they get up on hands and knees and rock they really should have a soft bumper to protect their heads. And also to protect their legs and arms from entrapment. We never used them with my oldest daughter but with my youngest they are extremely important. I think it’s the new flat barred cribs. There just seems to be more hard surface now. Next step is padded room with no cribs, I guess.

  21. by Lori S

    On September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Think of donating the bumpers to your local vet or animal shelter. They are great for keeping wobbly pets away from the hard cage sides when recovering from anesthesia!

  22. by CO Mom

    On September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Where does it end? Children have died from being trapped in hot cars…do we ban windows and locks in cars? Do we ban screens in windows because children have fallen out of them?

    I think the answer is not necessarily more legislation, but more education. Teach parents with newborns and young infants not to use them, but only when they’re older. Some have already made the point here – bumpers are not new. They have been around for a very, very long time. Used for countless generations. Yes, some legislation has helped to make our modern every day life safer, cleaner, healthier. And yes, one child death is too many. But before a knee-jerk reaction of banning things occurs, perhaps some extensive study (not just one or two) is needed, taking into account ALL factors.

  23. by Kristen

    On September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi, I think its strange that people would make bumpers for a crib more for decorating then anything My lil one actually sleeps with me shes 6 months id rather be able to watch her and feel her next to me then not knowing whats going on My oldest daughter slept with me as well I do have the bumpers in the bed but neither of them slept in there crib till they were old enough to talk some and crawl and walk around. I Honestly think that babies in a crib is just not safe period child safer being closer to the parent to me so u can keep an eye on them as far as the government goes we need a new and better president cant wait for that.

  24. by Debbie

    On September 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Kudos to whomever finally got this in motion. It’s about time. For anyone who is upset about it, consider yourself blessed that you’ve never had to suffer the horror of burying your baby. I envy you and wish I too could still be blissfully naive. I, for one, applaud those who are constantly working to make the world a safer place for our children.

  25. by tracie

    On September 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    People have to simply use good judgment- does your child have the moror skills to move away or turn their head or not? Same thing as starting real food- do you think your chid can chew/swallow it or not? Nothing is black and white everything has some risk including moving on to eating new foods. Common sense and good judgement is key.

  26. by Debbie

    On September 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    You’re right. It was my lack of common sense, good judgment and overall stupidity that killed my son. Thanks for clarifying that for me. My bad.

  27. by Kayc

    On September 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Honestly if there is going to be a ban on something like this then cars need to be banned, shelves, TVs, bath tubs, pools, etc. 100s of babies die every year from items such as those, and less than 12 have die from bumpers.
    Plain and simple it is the parents choice! And to the person that co-sleeps babies suffocate co-sleeping as well.

  28. by Lucie

    On September 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    USE WEDGES!!!! DUH! If you don’t use the bumpers and your babies head gets stuck between the bars then what? It is dangerous with bumpers and dangerous without bumpers. So easy solution I use
    wedges on the side. If she rolls towards the bumpers she can’t roll UP the wedge and suffocate against it, but the bumpers are in place so her head, legs etc can not get stuck between the bars.Does anyone remember 10 years ago walkers were outlawed because parents used them on the second floor with no baby gate at the top of the stairs? The product is not defective…it’s lack of common sense!

  29. by Annoymous

    On September 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    What I really wish the government would do is teach people the difference between suffocation and SIDS. They’re two different things.

  30. by Alejandra

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    To the person mentioning we need a better president… WTHeck? How does that apply with Chicago’s ban on stores selling them?

  31. by Alejandra

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Wonder bumpers are vertical bumpers…
    And for the comment on baby’s heads getting stuck :/ The cribs standers are 2 – 1 1/2 inch slats. I don’t know a baby with a head that small… Unless that was a typo lol…

    anywho check out http://www.gomamagodesigns.com/wonder-bumpers they are safer…

    On the comment about wedges… If they aren’t medically necessary (heart issues or reflux) doctors say avoid them.

  32. by Katherine

    On September 12, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I have mixed feeling about them. I personally don’t use one for my baby, as my older kids would just play with them, or get themselves stuck under it (not to mention, when I have to wash sheets and mattress pads, it’s very complicated to take off). My baby, however, often gets his legs stuck in the bars of the crib. I am worried that he could turn over and possible break his leg or get seriously hurt. Why haven’t companies invented a bumper that passes under the mattress and extends a bit higher so a newborn cannot get stuck under it? You’d think they would think of something. Anyways, I agree that a crib set is a waste of money. The only thing I actually used was the dust ruffle and the sheet. The rest is just for decoration.

  33. by Megara

    On September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Check out this link, which is from a conference on infants and safe sleep, which was presented by SIDS Project Impact (http://www.suid-im-projectimpact.org). If you skip to minute 23, it gives a scenario about using bumper pads in beds. The primary speaker is Dr. Rachel Moon, who is the head of the SIDS Taskforce for the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), and she talks with health care professionals about studies addressing the risks versus benefits of using bumper pads.

    It’s a very good, easily understandable discussion that deals with some of the concerns voiced here (limb entrapment, mesh bumpers, etc.), and cites evidence-based studies, as opposed to anecdotal evidence.

  34. by Megara

    On September 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Sorry, I thought the link would show up as in the text, not as a hyperlink in my name. Here is the link to the video:

    http://vimeo.com/29040979

    The disucssion on bumper pads begins a little after minute 23.

  35. by Jessica P

    On September 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I love how it says “parents see these in the store and assume they’re safe”…what are we, idiots? We see cigarettes in stores, and don’t assume THOSE are safe- and how many deaths are attributed to cancer caused by them? Yet they are not outlawed. Why? Because we are a country founded on FREEDOM. This, to me, is ridiculous. There is PLENTY of education regarding the safety or lack of safety of bumper pads. Parents are making informed decisions. Just another one of our freedoms and rights being stripped from us- what’s next- outlawing co-sleeping and baby blankets or burp cloths? All of these things are “risk factors” for sids, if done or used improperly!

  36. by Theresa

    On September 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I never used any bumpers in my crips and my kids never got stuck in between the bars..

    Hey, if there are any families out there who would love to stay home and earn some extra income then go to http://www.athome4kids.awugreen.com. THis world class health and wellness company will pay you well for setting up wholesale shopping accounts for people who desire safer, more affordable every day essentails in their homes. you won’t sell a single thing or touch any inventory ever!

  37. by Dee

    On September 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    If a padded room, fashion free crib, or any other things were to save the life of MY child you better bet I would be doing them. I think it is ignorant that anyone in this forum would belittle the government for issuing guidelines for the safety of children. I do not like a strong government presence either, but if it concerns the safety, health and well being of myself, my children, my family or any other human being then I am all for it. The government issues guidelines because (and this might come as a shock to some) some people lack any sense of good judgement even when it concerns the safety of their children. I saw thatmany of you were complaining about the inclusion of quilts and bumper pads in bedding sets as unnecessary, and extra cost. I have a solution, buy some sheets, buy a simple, inexpensive blanket and get over it. No one forces parents to buy any of this stuff. You buy it because of the ease, and convenience. Spend a little more time shopping around for the things YOU feel are adequate for your baby. You have nine months.

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